Midland Football League Newsletter
27th January 2016
Westfields Football Club are due to celebrate their 50th Anniversary on Saturday, 26th November 2016 and have planned a bumper reunion dinner to take place at The Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Hereford. The gala dinner will celebrate an incredible 50 years as Westfields have risen from a team playing friendly fixtures on Widemarsh Common to a team that now compete in the Midland League Premier Division and along with Hereford FC are the highest placed team in the county of Herefordshire. Westfields will be looking to celebrate their 50 years by inviting former players, committee members and managers to the club dinner and everyone is asked to contact club Chief Executive Andy Morris for further information about the gala evening. A sub-committee has been formed to organise the event which will include a celebratory speaker to help celebrate our 50-year history.
Big Centre TV will broadcast their first Midlands non-league show on the 4th of February at 9.30 p.m. They are issuing a rallying cry for match highlights, fan footage, crowd reaction, any particularly interesting stories about individuals or teams to be sent in to us by next Monday at the latest. They are also looking to feature FANCAM - In which Fans send 30-second match reports filmed on their smartphones after the game and send them in.
All material needs to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
This opportunity is open to all clubs at all levels (Under21s take note).
Travels of the Press Officer
Saturday 23rd January
Hereford 1 Alvechurch 1
As much as I enjoy watching games as a neutral, there was something about a meeting of the top two in front of a bumper Edgar Street crowd that really got the juices flowing. The Bulls had won 27 in a row in all competition before the game (a point well made by the noisy Bulls supporters) but Church could take over top spot if they won their games in hand. Sampling the fantastic hospitality from Hereford before the game, there was an eager anticipation from everyone involved and a realisation that this was a real challenge for league supremacy. This was echoed by the gathered press corps as I made my way to the press box for the game. With Hereford attacking the packed Meadow End for the first half, it was the sublime talent of Mustapha Bundu who got the crowd on their feet in the 5th minute. Bundu beat 5 defenders on a mazy run before teeing up Pablo Haysham whose shot was saved by Matt Sargeant. A minute later, Hereford were ahead, Ryan Green heading home, unmarked from a Dylan Bonella corner. Hereford continued to have the majority of possession but Sargeant did not have to make a save of note. At the other end, Sam Williams went closes for Church but Martin Horsell was never tested. Into the second half, Hereford leading scorer John Mills had an opportunity just after the break, rounding Sargeant but finding the shooting angle too tight. Mills turned provider a minute later, a wonderful ball into the path of Bundu but his deft chip was off target. Hereford were pouring on the pressure and Mills wasted the best opportunity, beat defenders before cutting inside and seeing his shot hit the Church keeper. Herford were made to rue those chances when former Rushall Olympic striker Nick Wright seized on a through ball from Jack Cresswell and provided the perfect finish past Horsell, a goal to grace the occasion. It was now the visitors who were having the better of things in the middle of the park without creating a clear-cut chance. The woodwork came to Church’s rescue with 11 minutes to go, when Bundu’s curler looked a goal all the way but the ball rebounded off the post. Bonella had a shot just over and another Bundu effort was saved by Sargeant. At the other end, Zack Foster saw his chip gathered under the bar by Horsell. With almost 8 minutes of time added on, the game ended honours even in a great advertisement for the league. A mention for the match referee, Malcolm Steward who played a crucial role in the quality of the game. He could so easily have shown red cards to Josh March and Joel Edwards but managed to keep the lid on things with his officiating. Well done sir!
Tuesday 26th January
Rocester 2 Loughborough University 0
With both teams in free-scoring form, a good game was anticipated. Unfortunately, our wonderful winter weather contrived to give the teams a very heavy pitch to contend with, which lessened the impact of the pacy forwards on view. With the tail end of Jonas affecting Hillsfield, strong winds and rain ensured that this was a game for the die-hard fan. The students started the better of the two sides with Max Herbert going close in the second minute. Loughborough were dominating possession but struggling to keep their feet on the greasy surface – Jerimiah Dasaolu, in particular, having major issues with his footwear. Loughborough wasted a good chance in the 17th minute when Dasaolu went for glory instead of passing to two men in space. Midway through the half, Rob Ritch-Smith forced a fine save from Loughborough keeper Conor O’Keefe, his 25-yard effort being tipped over the bar. O’Keefe had to react smartly to rob the ball from the feet of Troy Carty as the Romans began to pressurise. Callum Riddell was next to try his hand for Rocester but his shot was cleared off
the line. The deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute. A corner from the right was met with a bullet header from Liam Shaw who gave O’Keefe no chance. A neat move from Loughborough just before the break ended with Conner shooting wide. The weather, if anything, deteriorated after the break making flowing football a nigh on an impossibility. Tom Land headed over for Rocester as the home side took control. Ritchie-Smith was causing the Loughborough defence all sorts of problems, and a double effort from the striker saw his first shot blocked then his second go wide of the post. O’Keefe was by the far the busier of the two keepers and he had to race off his line to thwart Riddell. Rocester doubled their lead in the 65th minute when Colm Magee’s clearance cannoned into Troy Carty and into the net. Both sides continued to battle in the conditions but a 2-0 win for Rocester was a fair reflection on the 90 minutes.
The meeting of the top two ended even as Hereford and Alvechurch fought out a 1-1 draw in front of 4,026 at Edgar Street. The Bulls had the better chances but a draw was a fair result on the day. The result gave Sporting Khalsa the opportunity to close the gap on the top two and they duly responded with a 4-2 win at Continental Star, Matthew Martin with a couple. Loughborough University had the comeback of the day, recovering from 3-1 down at Brocton to win 4-3 courtesy of a stoppage time winner from Jack Poxon. Coleshill Town returned to league action with a 3-2 win over Bardon Hill, Mykel Beckley with an 87th-minute winner. Rocester picked up a good 3 points on the road, doubles from Rob Ritchie-Smith and Andrew Mottershead helping them to a 4-2 win at Quorn. A goal from Kieran Clarke was enough to earn Boldmere St Michaels 3 points at second bottom Dunkirk. Westfields eased their relegation worries with a 2-1 win at Lye Town, two goals in the last 15 minutes clinching all 3 points. A goal from Drew Aiton, 18 minutes from time gave Walsall Wood a narrow home win over AFC Wulfrunians. On Tuesday, Alvechurch missed the chance to close the gap to 9 points at the top, when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Quorn. An 88th-minute equaliser from Jack Skinner salvaged a point for Boldmere St Michaels at Coleshill Town. Rocester jumped 3 places to 13th after a 2-0 win over Loughborough University at a wet and windy Hillsfield.
Bromsgrove Sporting took advantage of Coventry United’s inactivity by taking over the top spot with a 4-1 win over Bolehall Swifts at The Victoria ground. On a good day for the leading sides, Leicester Road maintained their 3rd position with a 5-0 win over Studley. A brace from Tony Clarke helped Lichfield City on the way to a 3-1 away win at Cadbury Athletic. Nuneaton Griff warmed up for their big FA Vase clash with a 4-3 win over Littleton, Alex Naughton with a couple. A huge win at the bottom of the table for Stafford Town who beat Atherstone Town 2-1 with goals from Fabrice Kasiama and Marvin Robinson. Southam United are just a point ahead of Stafford as they went down 4-0 at Hinckley AFC for whom Greg Pearson scored twice. As the bottom of the table gets
tighter, Pershore Town are deep in trouble and they slipped to a single goal defeat at home to Coventry Copsewood. On Tuesday, Heather St Johns were beaten 2-0 at home by Studley keeping them in a 5-way battle to avoid the drop.
Rostance Edwards moved into 2nd pace with a 3-1 win over 11th placed Knowle at the Red Lion. Former Walsall Wood striker, Ahmet Bilgimer scored twice as Coton Green beat Sutton United 3-1. There was a big win for Paget Rangers who beat Barnt Green Spartak 4-1 with Dan Carter grabbing two.
FC Stratford stretched their lead to 5 points with a 2-0 win at Enville Athletic. Barton United are in 3rd place, a Peter Martin hat-trick helping them to a 5-0 win over Perrywood. Northfield Town are just two points further back after they won 4-2 at Shipston Excelsior. Redditch Borough are a further place behind but they continue to look upwards with a 4-0 win over Burntwood Town. The form side of the league continues to be Alcester Town who beat Inkberrow 5-1, Matt Layton with another two taking his tally to 24. Arguably, the result of the day saw AFC Solihull win for the second time this season, 3-1 at home to Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. The win closes the gap to Perrywood to just 4 points.
Polymac Packaging league Cup
Highgate United are through to the quarter-final of the league cup where they will meet the winners of the Herford vs Alvechurch tie. Highgate progressed thanks to a goal from Scott Turner as they beat Littleton 1-0.
A double from Chris Lloyd helped Chelmsley Town beat local rivals Smithswood Firs 4-0 in the Birmingham Saturday Vase. In the Birmingham Senior Cup, Lye Town held Birmingham City to a 0-0 draw but bowed out 4-2 on penalties. Shepshed Dynamo lost a thriller in the Leicestershire Challenge Cup, eventually being knocked out 4-3 by Coalville Town after extra time. Sporting Khalsa made it through to the semi-final of the Walsall Senior Cup with a 3-0 win over Pelsall Villa. A hat-trick from Alan Miller and a brace from Liam Bailey saw Atherstone Town beat Coventry United 5-2 in the Birmingham Midweek Floodlit Cup. Coventry Copsewood progressed in the same competition courtesy of a 3-1 win at Tipton Town. In the Fazeley Charity Cup, there was some relief for Boleghall Swifts as they beat Sutton United reserves 6-2, Joe Obi helping himself to a hat-trick
Just two games in the reserves division with Rocester moving up to 3rd position with a 3-0 win over Cadbury Athletic. In the Staffordshire derby, Brocton won 2-1 at Lichfield City.
In the South Division, Bedworth United moved 7 points clear following a 6-0 win over Leamington. H.O.W. Academy beat West Midlands Football Academy in the other South game. In the North, league leaders Sutton Coldfield Town were surprisingly beaten 5-1 at home by Newcastle Town for whom Dmitri Manginis bagged a hat-trick
Into the last 16 of the FA Vase and the Midland Football League have two teams standing. Premier Division leaders Hereford travel to Hartley Wintney of the Combined Counties League. The Row sit top of their league with just two defeats all season and should provide a stern challenge to the Bulls who come into the game on the back of the 1-1 draw with second-placed Alvechurch. Backed by 700 away fans, I expect the Bulls to be too strong on the day. Nuneaton Griff have had a remarkable run in the FA Vase and they welcome Salisbury FC, managed by Steve Claridge, to The Pingles Stadium. Like Hereford, Salisbury are a new club built from the ashes of the past, and they sit top of the Wessex league with two defeats all season. Griff score goals, and on their day, are capable of beating anyone. I just wonder if this could be their day?
With Hereford on FA Vase duty, the spotlight falls on the chasing pack as they look to close the gap at the top. Alvechurch slipped up in midweek and will hope to get to winning ways at home to in-form Brocton. Sporting Khalsa have revenge on their minds when they travel to Castlecroft to take on AFC Wulfrunians. Wulfs beat Khalsa on Boxing Day at the Aspray Arena and a similar result would severely dent Khalsa’s title ambitions. Heanor Town will feel they still have an outside chance of the title and they welcome Lye Town to the Town Ground. 5th placed Shepshed Dynamo travel to Pack Meadow to take on Coleshill Town on the 3G in an intriguing battle. Both sides score plenty of goals so this one could be worth watching. Highgate United have 8 games in hand on Hereford and a winning run would see them just 4 points behind the Bulls. They welcome Long Eaton United to The Coppice and they will be looking at the skies and hoping to get the game on. At the bottom, Continental Star welcome Rocester to Dales Lane with the Romans coming into the game on the back of two wins in a week. 2nd bottom Dunkirk host 4th bottom Quorn in a massive game at the foot of the table. 7th meets 9th as Loughborough University entertain Walsall Wood with both sides having similar records. Boldmere St Michaels picked up a good away point in midweek and they welcome Bardon Hill to Church Lane. It’s another Herefordshire versus Worcestershire derby in Hereford this weekend as Westfields welcome Stourport Swifts to Allpay Park. A win for Westfields would take them above their visitors who will be playing their 7th consecutive away league game due to postponements at Walshes Meadow.
Former league leaders Coventry United will hope to get back into league action for the first time in 7 weeks as they travel to Pelsall Villa. Their inactivity has enabled Bromsgrove Sporting to take over the top spot and they will want to hold that lead for some time to come as they travel to struggling Southam United. 3rd placed Leicester Road travel to Studley a week after beating them 5-0 at home. Lichfield City are in a strong position in 4th and they will expect all three points when Pershore Town come visiting. At the bottom, Stafford Town had a morale-boosting victory last week and a win at home to Pilkington XXX could take them out of the bottom two. Bolehall Swifts travel to Heath Hayes who haven’t played a competitive game since the 19th of December – is it a case of pre-season starts here? Heather St Johns remain in trouble and they welcome Littleton to St Johns Park in another difficult encounter. Two sides locked together in the middle of the pack meet at the TSA Sports Ground with Cadbury Athletic at home to Racing Club Warwick. Hinckley AFC make the short journey to Coventry Copsewood looking for a win to keep up their slim chance of entering the promotion race.
League leaders Droitwich Spa can extend their lead at the top to 4 points should they beat Barnt Green Spartak at King George Playing Fields. Sutton United are in 5th and can move level with Alvis Sporting Club with a win over Paget Rangers. At the bottom, Earlswood Town travel to Fairfield Villa for their first league since the end of November. Likewise, Feckenham haven’t played a home league game since October and desperately need the points against Austrey Rangers.
Weather permitting, there is a full league programme in Division 3. The highlight of the day is the match up between leaders FC Stratford and in-form Alcester Town. Alcester are on a run of 5 consecutive wins scoring 29 in the process while Stratford have won their last 7 games scoring 32 goals. Something has to give but this one should be well worth a watch. Leamington Hibernian lie second and they travel to Burntwood Town hoping to keep the gap to a minimum. Barton United are third and they travel to Inkberrow looking to build on last week’s victory over Perrywood. Smithswood Firs have games in hand on the leaders and they entertain Boldmere Sports & Social Falcons. AFC Solihull are closing the gap at the bottom and they travel to 5th place Northfield Town in good heart. Perrywood and Enville Athletic are the sides in Solihull’s sights and they meet in a relegation 6 pointer. 8th meet 6th as Badsey Rangers welcome Redditch Borough to the Recreation Ground. 11th meets 10th at Holbrooks Park with Coventrians at home to Shipston Excelsior.
Cadbury Athletic vs Sutton United
Coventry United vs Lichfield City
Romulus vs Coleshill Town
Brocton vs Continental Star
Evesham United vs Solihull Moors
Rocester vs Gresley
Kings Heath Concorde vs Gornal Athletic (U21S)
Leamington vs West Midlands Football Academy (U21S)
Bromsgrove Sporting vs Anstey Nomads (Bowl)
H.O.W. Academy vs Heath Hayes (Bowl)
Basford united vs Bedworth United (Bowl)
Tamworth vs Sutton Coldfield Town (U21N)
Newcastle Town vs Walsall Wood (Bowl)
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